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Derailment cuts off trains to northern Sweden

TT/Vivian Tse · 18 Jan 2011, 12:31

Published: 18 Jan 2011 12:31 GMT+01:00

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Six carriages ended up on their side. No injuries were reported, but freight traffic has been hard-hit. The cause of the accident is still unclear.

"We will have a meeting at 1pm and post new information on the site after 2pm," Peter Behrman of the Swedish Transport Administration's (Trafikverket) press office told The Local on Tuesday.

When asked how long the delays will be after the derailment, Behrman said, "Right now, we think several days, but we don't know really. I hope it will be a bit clearer after 2pm."

Work on the derailment in Jämtland was already under way on Tuesday morning. However, train service on the northern main line will be suspended for several days, with freight traffic coming to a grinding halt.

A freight train was traveling from Vännäs northeast of Umeå in northeastern Sweden to Skövde in central Sweden. It derailed at around 9.50pm on Tuesday evening in Grötinge, two stations north of Bräcke, in Jämtland.

The train was carrying paper products.

After the derailment, six cars lay on their side next to the track. The locomotive and the rear carriages remain on track, while both rail and overhead lines were damaged.

"Nearly 40 trains per day pass the site. And of those, 95 percent are freight trains," said Denny Josefsson of the Trafikverket press office earlier on Tuesday.

It is not possible to divert the freight trains. Steel giant SSAB's "steel commuter," which transports steel materials from Luleå in northern Sweden on the east coast to the company's plant in Borlänge in central Sweden, is affected by the derailment.

"We transport about 6,000 to 7,000 tonnes of steel per day to Borlänge, equal to about the same volume of steel as the Eiffel Tower. This will obviously impact us," Stefan Enbom, site manager at SSAB in Luleå, told newspaper Norrländska Socialdemokraten (NSD) online on Tuesday.

According to Mats Hollander of Swedish rail logistics company Green Cargo's press office, other companies, including paper products manufacturer SCA, Finnish steelmaker Outokumpu, Volvo and Ikea, also expect shipment delays.

"We are working frantically with our customer contacts now to see if we can transport the goods by other means, such as vehicle or boat, or if they can wait a few days," said Hollander.

Story continues below…

No passenger trains will run on Tuesday during the day on the route. Overnight, four passenger trains were affected by the derailment.

An estimated 50 to 100 passengers per train were shuttled by bus between Bräcke and Långsele west of Sollefteå in northern Sweden. It is unclear how long the delays were that they encountered.

On Tuesday night, another four passenger trains will be hit by the derailment. The trains will be replaced by bus service between Ånge south of Bräcke and Långsele.

TT/Vivian Tse (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

06:19 January 19, 2011 by dukesy
Hello,I`m John from Uk...I was reading the story about using old locomotives to clear the tracks. Personally,I think it shows someone in authority has used his/her brains. Those old locos,as someone rightly commented,weigh considerably more than the hi-tech,computer driven things everyone uses today. One thing you need in snow and ice,is weight over the driven wheels,what better way to get that than use an old loco that has probably served the country well in its day. I admit to being a `steam enthusiast`,and to me a steam engine is a living machine,heavy...yes, sometimes dirty...yes,takes alot of man hours to operate....yes, possibly expensive to run......yes,BUT,give it a job like snow clearance,or heavy haul,and provided you look after it,it wont let you down.

After all,do the Swedish people want to be like UK was....laughing stock of Europe,which we were.........trains stopped,buses stopped,plains grounded,motorways jammed....and who was the culprit.........4/5inches of snow.

Dear old Hans Anderson couldnt have written a better story line.

When those engines were built,as with Volvo, Sweden had a reputation for building to a standard that would beet the weather,what ever came,so a big pat on the back to the museum and transport authority for using their initiative,I hope it kept the railways open.

We still have `steam traction` in UK,allbeit privately owned,but non of our bright spark officials,or polititians cam up with that answer. Incidentally,if anyone looks on utube,or on the `A1 steam locomotive trust website,or type `tornado steam loco,into google,there are video`s there of the steam train on our main line in the snow..........funny how electric or deisel dont work in `english snow,or ice...........thanks John
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